What is a Community Response Network, or CRN?
A CRN is a diverse group of concerned community members who come together to create a coordinated community response to adult abuse, neglect and self-neglect.
A Coordinated Community Response - Community Response Networks (CRNs)
It is recognized that offering support to adults who may be abused or neglected, and having access to some new legal tools, is only part of what will make a difference in peoples' lives. As well there is a need for increased coordination at the community level, not only of responses to individuals who are abused or neglected, but also coordination in terms of working towards prevention over time. Community Response Networks are the vehicles for achieving increased coordination of community responses to abuse and neglect. Today, there are CRNs established or under development all over British Columbia.
CRNs provide a foundation for the community, as a whole, to work together as a team on an equal playing field, sharing power and responsibility, to:
- develop ways to coordinate and support their activities,
- facilitate and promote an interdisciplinary approach to services and support,
- keep track of how response is working,
- work on related activities such as community development, education, prevention and advocacy,
- develop community protocols, and
- support designated agencies in carrying out their responsibilities.
What are BC's Community Response Networks Doing?
CRNs around the province are reaching out to the community to establish a network of community agencies, local businesses, government agencies, (Health Authorities, Community Living BC) to provide help for adults experiencing or at risk of experiencing abuse, neglect and self neglect. Working together as a CRN, people and their communities are making a difference.
What are BC's CRN Members Learning as They Work Together?
As a result of working together on these CRN activities, guided by the community development principles of inclusion, meaningful participation, power-sharing and building capacity, members have said:
"Legislation alone doesn't keep people safe. Communities keep people safe."
"The work is as much about the process of working together as it is about the outcomes."
"We need to change our thinking about who can make changes happen - it's not just highly placed people."
"We have to listen harder, and pay attention differently. We need to see things as a series of circles, not boxes."
"We must be prepared to have the difficult discussions, to risk conflict. Trust is built when we find positive ways to address conflict or different experiences and perspectives."
"We try to create an environment where power-sharing and power equity for all members is a reality, rather than an ideal."
History of the CRN movement
Beginnings - In the spring of 1989, a group of community organizations and interested individuals met to discuss adult guardianship. They all agreed that the existing legislation was obsolete and did not represent the values of those present. Project funding was acquired to review the legislation. The project to review adult guardianship in B.C. was a community consensus building process. In July 1991, the Framework document was produced by the project. The Joint working committee (with equal representation from government and community) refined the framework resulting in the discussion paper 'How Can We Help' in 1992.
Pilot Projects - In 1994, five communities were selected as "pilot projects" to prepare for the implementation of the legislation. They included the communities of Vernon, Kamloops, Abbotsford, Castlegar and Duncan. The purpose of the projects were to prepare for the implementation of the abuse and neglect provisions of the legislation.
British Columbia's new adult guardianship legislation were proclaimed in Febuary 2000.
The legislation is made up of four Acts:
- The Representation Agreement Act
- The Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act
- The Adult Guardianship Act
- The Public Guardian and Trustee Act
These four acts were selectively proclaimed with some sections still waiting for proclamation. They work together to create a comprehensive and integrated system of support and assistance for adults who need help in making decisions about their health, personal care, and their financial or legal affairs.
Part 3 of the Adult Guardianship Act: Support and Assistance for abuse and neglected adults is the part of the legislation most closely connected to CRNs.
For further information contact the Public Trustee's Office at (604) 660-4444 or visit Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia.
Early on in the process of developing the new legislation, it was acknowledged that the best guarantee of a secure quality of life for any adult is the active involvement of caring and committed people in their life.
The Acts are based upon some important guiding principles and presumptions.
- Self determination and choice
All adults are entitled to live in the manner they wish and to accept or refuse support, assistance or protection as long as they do not harm others and they are capable of making decisions about those matters.
- Most effective but least intrusive support
All adults should receive the most effective, but least restrictive and intrusive, form of support, assistance or protection when they are unable to care for themselves or their assets.
- Court is a last resort
The court should not be asked to appoint, and should not appoint, decision-makers or guardians unless alternatives, such as provision of support and assistance, have been carefully considered.
- Adults are presumed capable
Every adult is presumed to be capable of making decisions about personal care, health care, legal matters or about the adult's financial affairs, business or assets until the contrary is demonstrated.
- Different ways of communicating
An adult's way of communicating with others is not grounds for deciding that he or she is incapable of making decisions.
Do you want to learn more about CRNs or the original Pilot Projects? Our Team Leaders and Mentors can help you on both subjects. For more about CRNs you can find information in the Resources section of this web site and, in particular, the Community Response Network Tool Kit.